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PEOPLE, COUNTRIES, AND CITIES

What are the largest cities in the Middle East?

Cairo, Egypt, is by far the largest city in the Middle East, with over 14.45 million people. Istanbul, Turkey, is an urban area with almost 11.3 million residents; and Tehran, Iran, is home to 7.7 million people.

Who lives in the City of the Dead?

There lies on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, a very old cemetery filled with mausoleums, memorials, and mosque-shaped tombs and shrines. Because of severe overcrowding in Cairo, squatters now live inside these memorials to the dead, in what is called by many the City of the Dead. Recently, the Egyptian government provided the area with electricity and water. Built as a home for the dead, this cemetery is now becoming a home for the living.

A view of the ancient section of Cairo, Egypt.

A view of the ancient section of Cairo, Egypt.

What does the suffix "stan" mean?

The suffix "stan" (as in Afghanistan) means nation or land. Therefore, Afghanistan literally means "land of the Afghans."

How many countries end in the suffix "stan"?

There are eight. Six are former republics of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two others.

Where is Asia Minor?

Asia Minor is the term used for the larger part of Turkey that lies in Asia, east of the Strait of Bosporus. This part of Turkey is also known as Anatolia.

Where is the Maghreb?

From the Arabic word for "place of sunset" or "western," the Maghreb is a region of Northwest Africa composed of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Sometimes Libya is also included. The name "Maghreb" remains from the term used by the Islamic empire for this region.

Where in Egypt do most Egyptians live?

About 95 percent of Egypt's population lives within 12 miles (19 kilometers) of the Nile River. Since the rest of Egypt mainly consists of desert, the remaining residents live scattered across the country, primarily near oases or along the coast.

Who are the Kurds?

The Kurds are a Middle Eastern people who have no country of their own. They live in southeastern Turkey, northern Iran, northern Iraq, and other nearby countries. Since the Kurds have been persecuted by Iraq, the United Nations established a security zone for them north of 36 degrees north in Iraq. The Kurds hope that one day they will have their own nation-state in the region where they now live.

Which country is composed of seven sheikdoms?

The country of United Arab Emirates, located on the Arabian Peninsula, is composed of seven sheikdoms (also known as emirates). The seven emirates were defended by the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, but merged to become an independent country in 1971. The seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Sharqah, Dubayy, Ra's a' Khaymah, and Umm al Qaywayn) are presently quite autonomous.

How many people speak Arabic in the world?

Approximately 200 million people are native speakers of Arabic, and an additional 200 million are non-native speakers.

Which Middle Eastern country has the highest percentage of urban population?

Ninety percent of Israel's population lives in urban areas, and its density is third only to those of Bahrain and Lebanon, at 702 people per square mile.

Which Middle Eastern country has the largest population?

Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East, with over 75 million people. Just behind Egypt is Iran, with over 71 million people, followed by Turkey, with over 70 million people.

Which country has the most Azeri-speaking people?

Surprisingly, between 12 and 20 million Azerbaijanis (Azeri is their native language) live in Iran, considerably more than the eight million who live in Azerbaijan, Iran's neighbor to the north. It is difficult to know the exact number of Azeri speakers, since the government of Iran doesn't release such figures.

Which Middle Eastern country currently has the longest-ruling leader?

Hosni Mubarak has been the head of state of Egypt since 1981.

Who are the Bedouin?

The Bedouins are nomadic tribes that have inhabited areas of the Middle East and northern Africa for centuries. Grazing their goat and camel herds, the Bedouins travel wide distances and frequently cross international borders. Many Middle Eastern countries are attempting to halt the crossings. If these countries are successful, the Bedouin culture would be dramatically changed and perhaps even completely destroyed.

Which country has a flag of only a single color and no design or emblem?

The Libyan flag is green without a design. This North African country is located between Egypt and Algeria and has a population of over six million people.

Where is Greater Syria?

Some Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and Palestinians see the boundaries of their countries as artificially imposed by colonial rulers, and hope to see a united Greater Syria composed of the four areas.

What was the United Arab Republic?

In 1958, non-neighbors Egypt and Syria united to form the country known as the United Arab Republic. This lasted only until 1961, when Syria decided to become independent. Even after the dissolution, Egypt kept the name United Arab Republic for a decade.

How do you drive to the island country of Bahrain?

Bahrain is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) off the coast of Saudi Arabia and has been connected by a four-lane causeway (bridge) to Saudi Arabia since 1986. Saudi Arabia paid for the construction of the causeway.

Where does the name Saudi Arabia come from?

The name comes from the ruling Al-Saud family, who have been in control of the country since 1932. Saudi Arabia is the world's only country named after its royal family.

Which Middle Eastern country has the most tourism?

Turkey has the most tourist arrivals, with more than 20 million people coming to visit each year. Because of the annual Haj, or Pilgrimage, to Saudi Arabia's religious sites of

Mecca and Medina, more than nine million people visit there each year. Over eight million people visit Egypt each year.

 
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